WI: President Barbara Jordan in 1978?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Bookmark1995, Aug 13, 2019 at 11:11 AM.

  1. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Barbara Jordan is a fascinating person. Despite living in an age of racial intolerance, she managed to get a law degree, become the first African American woman to be elected to the Texas Senate, become the first African-American congresswoman elected in the South, and then captured the nation's attention with her passionate Watergate Speech.

    All of this before she was even 40!

    OTL, she was seriously considered as a potential running mate by Jimmy Carter.

    What if Jimmy Carter had chosen Jordan as her running mate? What if he then died in office in the middle of his term, bringing both a woman and an African American woman to the Presidency thirty years before Obama's ascent to the spotlight?


    Would Jordan again overcome adversity and push stronger legislation then Jimmy did OTL, becoming a second FDR? Or would she end facing the same racist backlash Obama did, be opposed by a more conservative Congress, and be consumed by the terrible environment that overwhelmed ol'Jimmy?
     
  2. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    They might drive black voter turnout sooner, but they would be risking white voters. I’m guessing not much changes in terms of short-term results, but more Democratic voters may swing 2000, and that’s where it gets fun.
     
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  3. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    But would there be a kneejerk backlash against a black woman President, or is 1978 not polarized enough, and Jordan's national reputation is strong enough to push back against vile racist campaigns?
     
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  4. V-J Resources From Westminster

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    Jordan wasn't seriously considered as running mate. Her convention speech - before Carter had announced Mondale - wowed people, and created a boomlet in favour of her, but she wasn't seriously considered. By then it was almost certain Mondale would be chosen.

    I know Jordan is compelling, but surely people realise how unlikely she is to actually be put on a national ticket.
     
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  5. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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  6. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Would Barbara, despite being a proud progressive near the dawn of the Reagan years, do any better, or would she find herself stonewalled by right-wing reactionaries?
     
  7. Wolfram Fair to middlin'

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    It certainly doesn't help that her career was cut short by her MS.
     
  8. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Yeah, if not for that, she could've become a Supreme Court justice.
     
  9. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I think she’d realize that sometimes you’re working to grow the middle class and increase inclusion, and sometimes you’re just trying to slow the hemorrhage. So . . .

    1) She’d remind herself and fellow citizens that the idea of lifting controls on oil drilling and at the same time adding a windfalls profit tax goes back at least to Pres. Ford’s first State-of-the-Union address in Jan. ‘75, and maybe even earlier than that. It’s just a matter of getting the numbers right. And I suspect she’d work openly effectively with members of Congress to do just that, and

    2) She and Congressional leaders—meaning on the Democratic side—would move more and more toward the idea of tax cut(s) as among the quickest ways to pump money into the economy during the 1980 and 82 double-dip recession. And with the Democrats getting credit as the party of tax cuts, that would be transformative. :)

    ———-

    PS I’d rather Jimmy have a stroke than out-and-out die. He’s still able to make contributions on Habitat for Humanity, conflict resolution, international election monitors, fighting guinea worm disease, and maybe more, just not at the height of all his powers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 11:30 PM
  10. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    I am not writing a revenge fantasy. I think Carter did more then he was given credit for.

    But you see Jordan making centrist compromises to pursue her broader agenda?
     
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  11. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I know you’re not writing a revenge fantasy. A president dying in office is standard fare for us here at AH. I just think that disability is more likely and, in many ways, more interesting.

    The oil policy advocated by Ford, by Carter, and (finally) enacted by Congress in 1980, I don’t view as a compromise. But rather as right-down-the-middle good policy. Provided we get the numbers approximately right. :cool:

    And more later on 1980 and 82 double-dip recession.
     
  12. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    My question is, would Barbara Jordan be able to pursue a strong left-wing agenda while President, as the Democrats were still a party of working people? Or would she face a vicious racial backlash come the 1978 midterms? 1978 was a year where old school segregationists like James Eastland were still in the Senate.

    Among them was Mr. Jesse Helms, a man who sang Dixie to a black Senator...in the 1990s! I can picture him making some pretty vile remarks about Jordan and winning re-election in a landslide.
     
  13. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    No backlash.

    Because at the time of the Nov. ‘78 election, the economy was humming along quite nicely.

    2nd Quarter 1978: 6.1% economic growth​

    3rd Quarter 1978: 5.2% growth​

    4th Quarter 1978: 6.7% growth​

    Someone would have to be exceptionally perceptive to feel a slowdown coming. Although maybe some Mid-West industrial states?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019 at 3:32 PM
  14. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    My initial reaction is, Hell, No.

    We’re a conservative country. We’re more religious than most European countries. And, we’re been more successful at building our middle class, so much so that people have generally decided New Deal-type approaches are no longer necessary (!) (!) (!) People tend to credit their own efforts in getting a good job, and don’t see the infrastructure, so to speak, that made the whole thing possible, such as —

    GI Bill of Rights which enabled a heck of a lot of people to go to school including older adults, military Keynesianism [wish it was different on this count], manufacturing + unions, and probably a bunch of other stuff as well.
     
  15. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Or maybe . . . Ramp up the Earned Income Credit earlier.

    It's surprisingly popular with both liberals and conservatives, mostly helps couples and single parents, and the child or children can be up to and including age 18.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019 at 8:42 PM
  16. Derek Jackson Member

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    If she became President in 78 Carter would need to be dead probably by murder.

    She would get a huge boost
     
  17. Maeglin Lómion

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    I think Carter loses 1976 here.
     
  18. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And I think Barbara would realize that she’s largely a caretaker president.

    Meaning, if there are issues that have been discussed for a while and that receive broad public support, for example approaching 60%, those she can move forward on. And receive a lot of credit for doing so.